Separated from Lily, Blake takes a chance by helping one of the wolves. What secret are they hiding in the swamp? Find out in Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3 from IDW Publishing!

GOOSEBUMPS: SECRETS OF THE SWAMP #3

Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Artist: Yasmin Florez Montanez
Colorist: Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Danny Djeljosevic
Editor: Elizabeth Brei and Chase W. Marotz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 9, 2020

Previously in Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp: Blake and Lily find themselves face to face with wolves in a semi-human form. They run and when they stop to catch their breaths, Blake insists they should come up with a plan. Lily just wants to leave – she never believed the stories about the wolves. And she’s frustrated that her phone has no reception. Blake looks through Lily’s pack and finds all sorts of interesting stuff like silver weapons. The girls realize they are up against werewolves and now Blake wants to run while Lily wants to fight them. The wolves catch up to them and Lily sprays one of them with something, something that seems to turn into something more like a dog!

DECISION TIME FOR BLAKE

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3 opens with Blake up in a tree looking down at what looks like a wolf, or even a dog, in human clothes curled up on the ground beneath her. The branch she is clinging to snaps and she falls close to the wolf. It seems to be hurt and she cautiously gets closer to it to see if she can help. As she does so, it turns back into a human – and it is Cara! She is still weak from the silver spray Lily used on her, but she insists she needs to get back to her family to warn them. By family, she means the other wolves; whether or not they’re actual relations of hers, she considers them all her family which is a terrific metaphor for the sorts of families we create by choice.

They go to a house called The Burrow located deep in the swamp. Cara explains that she and “the cousins” were running around trying to frighten Lily and Blake away. A red-haired boy gives her something to help her recover and warns her that Lily’s family are dangerous. Another girl (Toby) comes in with a wolf (Luke) and tells the others that Lily’s father and brothers were at the edge of the swamp, probably looking for the girls. Toby accuses Blake first of leading the Mitchells there, then of trying to sneak into their safe spot.

The problem is that while they can evade a hunter or two, they don’t have enough resources to hold up against a big group of them!

THE HIDDEN REFUGE

The atmosphere of the swamp in Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3 is almost magical. Under the full moon, everything has a teal cast which makes it look not only like it’s dark, but also like it’s getting foggy. When Blake and Cara arrive at the Burrow, it does look like a safe space. The house is a run-down cottage with a lot of character on the outside. Inside, it looks like an abandoned vacation lodge full of mismatched but comfortable, if worn, furniture, a huge fireplace, and plenty of games, puzzles, and books.

I like the concept of the wolves as a family. When Blake arrives, all the wolves/people she sees are around her age. Many of them are in human form, some are in wolfperson form. It’s a diverse group who look comfortable and natural hanging out with each other. Even though Blake resents being thoroughly frightened, we can see her taking all of this in and seeing the wolves as people rather than monsters. It’s a wonderful metaphor for any group that is excluded from the mainstream.

BOTTOM LINE: A CHARMING READ

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3 does a charming job of turning a monster trope inside out and finding the humanity in it, but in a good way.


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Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3

90%
90%
A Charming Read

Blake takes the risk of getting to know the werewolves and discovers more than she expected.

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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